When I was pregnant with my first baby, I envisioned maternity leave as a wonderful time to conquer all the outstanding items on my always expanding bucket list. I was going to learn how to ride horses, ski the highest mountains, and explore the hidden gems of Ontario. I obviously failed to realize that I was also going to be a first time mother to an adorable but demanding new baby. Oh, and babies take time and energy. In fact, they can take so much time and energy that the bucket list can often get tossed wayside as you navigate sleepless nights, colic, and breastfeeding demands. I know mine sure did.
Some people take to mothering easily but I’m not one of those lucky few. It was hard for me and I really struggled the first couple of months. It felt like a huge accomplishment if I was just able to get out the door with my baby for a quick shopping trip. Without forgetting something or another. And managing to look somewhat pulled together and half decent. That’s definitely a noteworthy achievement in my books.
This time around though, I have experience and knowledge on my side. I know how this goes and I’ve revised my bucket list accordingly. Basically, I mean that I’m thinking more along the lines of attainable rather than grandiose. I’m giving myself some time to get it together but then I’m going to really kick ass (in, you know, a modest way). I don’t want to look back at the year and regret staying in yoga pants all day. Unless I’m actually partaking in some yoga-like activity and in which case, that’s pretty awesome.
I have decided that I will start off small so I can ease into my year of fun and fulfilling activities. I’m not going to beat myself up trying to do it all. Nope, I plan to just start off with weekly trips to the mall — riding dirty with two kids. After all, a new bucket list obviously requires a new wardrobe. And it gets me out of the house and those aforementioned yoga pants. That’s winning right there.
I’d also like to become better at a couple activities that I currently suck at. I want to take cooking lessons. I want to learn how to speak better French because bonjour and au revoir don’t really cut it. I want to go hiking through the forests of Ontario with my daughters so they can see how beautiful it is. I want to learn how to drive a stick shift. Man, do I really suck at that.
I’m telling you — this maternity leave will not be wasted. Because as much as it is for me to spend wonderful moments with my newborn baby and toddler, it’s also going to be time for me to spend some time on just me.
Just me. Boy, does that ever sound nice right about now. As I wipe some spit-up off my shirt.
Cribs, strollers, baby monitors, bottles, bathtubs, and on and on. The list of products that first time parents need is never-ending and often overwhelming. But some of the stuff being peddled to excited new parents is just ridiculous and a waste of money! Money that could be better spent on diapers. Seriously. Do you even realize how many diapers you will need?!
I know it’s tempting to buy everything. It’s just so hard to resist all that cuteness but rest assured that there are some products being sold as ‘must-haves' that you will rarely (if ever) use.
Here is my list of the most useless baby products out there:
Pee-Pee Teepee. A product designed for little boys to help make diaper changing dry and easy. I’m not even kidding. This product really exists. The person who invented this is obviously smirking every single time someone actually buys one of these. That’s all I’m going to say about this one.
Baby Wipes Warmer. Such a waste of money! I like to rinse out baby wipes before applying them to my infant’s skin to get rid of chemicals so I just use warm water and it did the same thing without spending a dime. Maybe I can try to bottle and market warm water? Hmm, better look into copyrighting that.
Baby Robe. When do babies actually wear these? As they’re relaxing with their evening cup of tea? And an extra step after bathing? As if. The reality is that you will most likely bathe baby and then bundle her into the warmest clothes you can find in hopes of having her nice and cozy enough to sleep through the night (pipe dreams, my friend).
Prenatal MP3 Player. There are probably few women out there who would welcome the idea of strapping an uncomfortable device to their already uncomfortable pregnant self. And really, I’m pretty sure the baby doesn’t care if you’re strapping Mozart to your belly or if you’re listening to it from your speakers.
Designer Baby Perfume. This one might just take the cake. As any parent will attest, one of the best things about babies is their baby smell. It’s freaking awesome. Soon enough, your child will smell like grime and mud so just enjoy it while you can. Why pay exorbitant amounts of money to actually cover it up?! Save the Bulgari for yourself.
There are going to be a lot of things you’re going to need. This stuff? Not so much (and when I say not so much, I really mean not at all). So save your pennies.
And more diapers.
I’m pretty sure I’m losing my mind. I’ve been cooped up in my house with both an easily upset newborn and a whiny toddler for far too long. I feel like either crying hysterically or laughing manically at the turn of a whim. I take a look in the mirror and have a feeling that this is what crazy looks like.
The first couple (okay fine, going on six in my case) weeks after having your baby are the hardest. They can be torture at its most ingenious. I am far too tired on far too little sleep. I pretty much feel like a zombie. The type of Walking Dead zombie but instead of trying to eat people, I change diapers and breastfeed. So I guess that actually makes me far superior than the Walking Dead zombie—it’s nice to feel good about anything at this point so I’ll take it, thank you very much.
It’s funny, isn’t it? Parenthood literally kicks our butt. It has to be the hardest job ever. I mean, I’m not a rocket scientist or an astronaut or anything like that and those might be harder but I still doubt it. At least they get lunch breaks and more importantly, washroom breaks. Yet all it takes is one damn smile to take away every ounce of frustration. A tiny little smile from my baby and I’m no longer a grouchy pants. In that one instance I completely forget that this baby has wreaked havoc on my mind, body, house, and just about everything else too.
It’s such a short window of time that we have with our babies. My oldest now speaks in sentences. HOW did that even happen? I swear she was a sleepy newborn just yesterday and now she knows the alphabet. It’s as though I blinked and she grew up (well, as grown up as a toddler can be). She may still be my baby but she's no longer a baby.
I might be waking up every three hours and I might have spit-up on my shirt and I might not have combed my hair in a few days (ahem, weeks) but it's still the best feeling in the world. Nothing will ever compare to being a mommy to my two little girls. I'm tired and have half lost my mind from lack of sleep but I'm not complaining. Now, whining, well that`s a completely different story. I'm all for whining. After all, I learned it from my babies.